March de Normandie

March 'de Normandie'. One of the oldest Canadian compositions to survive in regular performance in the 20th century (see Band music composition; a modern copy of the march is reproduced there).

March 'de Normandie'

March 'de Normandie'. One of the oldest Canadian compositions to survive in regular performance in the 20th century (see Band music composition; a modern copy of the march is reproduced there). It is said to have been written to welcome to Quebec City the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria's father, the commander of the Royal Fusiliers during the regiment's service in Canada from August 1791 to 1801. Like its companion piece, the fast march Royal Fusiliers Arrival at Quebec (1791), it lay in oblivion for more than a century and a quarter, but after a memorial tablet had been unveiled 1 Jul 1928 in Quebec to commemorate the Royal Fusiliers' service in Canada, a Mrs Elmire C. Pourtier in 1929 presented the manuscripts of both works to the regiment. The regimental band performed the March 'de Normandie' during a historical display at the Royal Tournament in 1930, and from then on the march was regarded as the regimental slow march (The British Grenadiers being the fast one). As the march is a mere 20 measures long (plus repeats), the bandmaster, Tulip, added a Trio section.

In J.M. Gibbon's Canadian Mosaic (Toronto 1938), and hence in the Catalogue of Canadian Composers, F. Glackemeyer was credited as the composer. However, an inquiry at the Regimental Museum of the Royal Fusiliers revealed that after their acquisition both manuscripts were framed and under each was printed - presumably on Mrs Pourtier's advice - 'Composed by Charles Voyer de Poligny D'Argenson, notary of Quebec who died there 1820.' Neither manuscript bears a composer's name, but both appear to have been written in the same handwriting. A note on the March 'de Normandie' says 'copied by Jouve, band master to the Duke of Kent.' Both marches are notated as piano arrangements, and the manuscript of the March 'de Normandie' also has the beginning of a choral Stabat mater.

Both pieces have been recorded by the Central Band of the Canadian Forces (disc 2, 'The British'; London SW-99559) and the March 'de Normandie' by the Ensemble Nouvelle-France (RCI 500).